Inscribed on top of every MMM well are the words "Glory to God" in English and in the native language. Each time the well is used the user is reminded to give thanks for "water is life." A simple statement, but very profound, after one spends a few days in East Africa.
After eight trips with MMM I still get excited watching clear clean water being discharged from the new pumps, especially after seeing the watering hole they replaced. More often than not, it is literally a hole in the ground, colored gray or green with cut-out steps leading down to a precarious landing where the mamas can kneel and dip their 5 gallon pail into the murky water.
Every year is a different experience. This year was special in that my niece accompanied me to Tanzania where together we installed and dedicated 251 protected water wells. The driving was still challenging, the walks difficult, yet the results were most gratifying: clean water for remote villages where previously they had shared their water resources with their livestock, dogs and wild animals. After every installation the villagers recited their thanks to Americans back home for providing support for this program and encouraged us to relate the continued need to the donors back home that their neighbors needed wells as much as they.
I enjoy watching the mamas intently paying attention to the installation supervisor demonstrating the proper use and care for the completed well. Even the men and children take an active interest. Everyone seems to want a turn at pumping and are amazed to see clear water discharging so effortlessly.
What we take for granted back home they see as a miracle. The prayer a villager gives at every dedication conveys a powerful thanksgiving for this life-giving substance. Even though it is in Swahili you can tell by their inflection, tone, length, and key words (baba=father, asante asante = thank you, thank you) that they are moved and are giving heartfelt thanks to God for this blessing. Sharing this experience always reminds me of the blessings I have received.
I wish every American could experience the excitement, the significance, the friendships, the difficulties, the hardships, the joys, and the community that participating in this mission brings. Three weeks in Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi working hand in hand with these Africans is if not life changing then certainly eye opening in many ways to forming or transforming one's world view.
New volunteers are always welcomed, one trip is rarely enough, once you have experienced an MMM trip.
Bringing clean water to these remote villages truly is a miracle that never gets old! Sharing in that accomplishment is a great joy.